Spring 2021 Update

It is now  more than a year since the choir have been able to meet physically and sing together. It has been a year of significant change, in many ways, and we are pleased to report that we remain buoyant, and confident that we will sing together again before too long.

We have also got to grips with virtual singing practices on Zoom under the remarkable leadership of Sebastian Thomson, our musical director, supported by the IT skills of Ralph Knowles. Sebastian does not hear our voices but is still able to motivate us and help us learn quite difficult sections. These sessions are a poor substitute for our normal practices, but they have kept us in voice and have cemented our friendship.

In the Spring term we sang ‘Thou Wilt Keep Him in Perfect Peace’ by Samuel Sebastian Wesley, ‘Verleih uns Freiden’ (Grant us Thy Peace) by Felix Mendelssohn and ‘Te Deum in C’ by Franz Joseph Haydn; three really beautiful pieces. We chose to sing all in the languages in which they were composed, and for the last two this means singing in German and Latin. It perhaps helped that we could not be heard while we grappled with some of the phrases!

We have planned further Zoom sessions in April and May, 6 weeks of madrigals and short pieces via Zoom, before Boris’ roadmap allows us some freedom, at which point I suspect most of us will want to spread our wings while the weather is warm.

The other activity which Zoom has facilitated are our Quiz evenings for choir members and their families. We had a further one before Easter which was great fun. Zoom has its advantages – being able to sit comfortably at home with a glass or two of booze and no worries about either getting dressed up for the occasion or driving!

Will we be allowed actual practice sessions come the Autumn? We really hope so, and in order to be ready we have planned the pieces we would hope to sing. With all the talk of a possible third wave of infections we have doubts about holding a November concert, but perhaps by next Spring we will be performing again in All Saints’ Church. Fingers crossed!

January 2021 Update

The start of another difficult year and the choir are still unable to meet and practise together, nor are we able to even plan concerts. Vaccination may allow us to meet physically in the Autumn, but that is not guaranteed – until then we have Zoom!

The choir are now enjoying another term of singing using Zoom, skilfully guided by our musical director, Sebastian Thomson. We are singing Haydn’s ‘Te Deum’ and Mendelssohn’s ‘Verleih uns Frieden’ – two beautiful pieces. Although we cannot hear each other sing there is nevertheless pleasure in singing together and learning new pieces which will extend our repertoire. We also have the fillip of a social chat for a few minutes before practice begins when we can share some light-hearted conversation.

We had three sessions of Carol Singing via Zoom in December which helped foster a festive mood prior to a very different Christmas from usual.

The other social interaction we have enjoyed as a choir has been our excellent Quiz evenings via Zoom. We had one in November and another, a Christmas Quiz, on 18th December. Our quizmaster, Neil Weston, was on fine form, and both evenings went well. We hope that future quizzes will be on the agenda.

2020 AGM

ALL SAINTS’ SINGERS, SUTTON COURTENAY
ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING BY ZOOM ON 25 SEPTEMBER 2020 AT 8.30 PM
Present: Patrick Salisbury (President), Sandra Knowles (in the Chair), Peter Bronsdon, Val Bronsdon, Rita Burt, Nick Dunton, Steve Fisher, Tony Gillman, Katherine Harrop-Griffiths, William Hudson, Susan King, Ralph Knowles, Alex Landsbert, Neil Weston, and Sebastian Thompson (Music Director).
Apologies: Amos Clarke, Gill Holcombe, Margaret Notley, Adrian Rance-McGregor, Liz Rance-McGregor.

  1. Welcome
    Sandra welcomed everyone to the Zoom meeting. She explained that the proceedings would be recorded, as required by the Charity Commission for settling any possible disputes in the voting process, but that the recording would be destroyed when the need was past. Members were given the opportunity to withdraw, but everyone remained connected.
  2. Minutes of the AGM on 12 July 2019
    These had been previously circulated. There were no comments, questions or points arising, and they were passed unanimously as a correct record of the meeting.
  3. Chairman’s Report
    Sandra had previously circulated her report as Acting Chairman. There were no questions or comments. She reiterated her thanks to Patrick, as President; to Steve, for his valiant work as immediate past Chairman; to Sebastian for all his enthusiasm and commitment, especially in running the current Zoom workshops; and to all the Committee Members for their co-operation during a difficult period of lockdown and change.
  4. Financial Report
    The Financial Report for 2019 – 2020, examined on 23 September 2020, had been previously circulated to members, along with an updated statement following the 2019 AGM (which had been held before the Financial Year End). There was a remaining overall surplus of £1,812.68, and assets totalled £3,567.75. The Spring Quiz had netted £1,204.40.
    There were no comments or questions.
  5. Changes to the All Saints Singers Constitution
    The proposed changes, and the reasons for them had been previously circulated. They were taken point by point:
  6. For ‘Trustee Officers’ read ‘Trustees’ – because not all Trustees are Officers.
    There were no objections – carried unanimously.
  7. Delete ‘Publicity Officer’ and ‘Concert Manager’ and change ‘three’ to ‘five’ – to give more flexibility in allocating roles of Trustees. No objections – carried unanimously.
  8. Add ‘The quorum at Trustee’s Meetings shall be one-third of the Trustees plus one’ – being normal practice to specify a quorum. No objections – carried unanimously.
  9. Add ‘elected’ to ensure elected Committee Members always outnumber co-opted ones. No objections – carried unanimously.
  10. Delete ‘As co-optees for special duties’ – being unnecessarily prescriptive.
    No objections – carried unanimously.
  11. Delete ‘but only until the next Annual General meeting’ – unnecessary.
    No objections – carried unanimously.
  12. Add ‘in the event of casual vacancies among the Officers, the Trustees shall have the power to reallocate the roles among their number’ – a precaution in the event of sudden resignations. No objections – carried unanimously.
  13. Add ‘’The Trustees shall hold no fewer than two meetings in any year’ – being normal practice to specify a minimum number of meetings.
    No objections – carried unanimously.
  14. Add ‘and may also conduct the business of the Society by the circulation of papers or emails, or by video-conferencing’. No objections – carried unanimously.
  15. Under ‘Finance, for ‘guarantees and tickets’ read ‘guarantees. Tickets’ – because they are distinct. No objections – carried unanimously.
  16. Add ‘General Meetings may be held by video-conferencing’ – to cater for any future situations where physical meetings are officially not advised.
    There were no objections – carried unanimously.
  17. Elections for Trustees
    • Sandra Knowles proposed as Chairman by Neil Weston, seconded by Susan King.
    • Neil Weston proposed as Treasurer by Susan King, seconded by Val Bronsdon.
    • Kathy Harrop-Griffiths proposed as Secretary by Sandra Knowles, seconded by Alex Landsbert.
    • Susan King proposed as Librarian by Ralph Knowles, seconded by Val Bronsdon.
    • Val Bronsdon proposed as Trustee by Alex Landsbert, seconded by Susan King.
    • William Hudson proposed as Trustee by Neil Weston, seconded by Val Bronsdon.
    • Alex Landsbert proposed as Trustee by Val Bronsdon, seconded by Ralph Knowles.
    There being no other nominations, all were declared duly elected.
  18. Any Other Business
    • Sandra thanked the Choir Members for their confidence in the Committee. She invited any member with concerns or suggestions to contact her.
    • Steve regretted that there was no longer a dedicated ‘Publicity Officer’. He was assured that the need for publicity was still recognised, but that the necessary skills would be sourced jointly by the Committee.
    • One new possible member had been recruited through Facebook.
    • There had been a recent very generous donation of £1000.
    • Another Zoom Quiz would take place on Friday 20 November – to be run by Neil.
    • Neil thanked Sandra for steering the Committee through a challenging time.
    There being no other business, the Meeting was closed at 8.55 pm.